Sioux Falls, South Dakota
South Dakota is home for me. I'm a 5th generation South Dakotan - my great-great grandfather homesteaded in Brookings County. My parents still own the home place, although they now rent the land.
I currently live in Sioux Falls, SD, our biggest metropolis at about 124,000, according to the 2000 census. For many South Dakotans, this is the "big city." :-) The majority of us are white with European heritage (lots of Norwegian and German), although I am pleased to see more and more people with other backgrounds and cultures moving here.
South Dakota is in the northern tier of prairie states, home to extensive cropland "East River" (east of the Missouri River) and ranching West River. West River is also home to our most famous of tourist attractions - Mt. Rushmore. Although a decently impressive feat of sculpture, it is definitely not the embodiment of our state.
I am proud of our pioneering heritage, although it is a difficult reputation to live up to. There are books upon books that tell of the hardship endured by the people that first settled here, and, frankly, it makes me feel like a huge wimp!
Many people fly over or drive through my beautiful state and see nothing but flat. But, my family likes to say that the prairie is a landscape of subtleties. It's a place where the sky is so big that when the sun sets, that the sky in the west is brilliant orange and pink, and the sky in the east has already darkened. Where, in the summer, you can see the huge thunderstorms role in and feel the day switch from hot and muggy to a wonderful cool. Where between March and October, wildflowers can be found decorating the grasses and forbs. It is truly a beautiful place. (Even though it IS pretty flat :-) )
"Summer storms are a favorite!"
This picture was taken in the summer of 2003. Amazing! It was part of a huge line of storms that was coming across the state.
The ferocity & power are awe-inspiring.
Montana has used "Big Sky Country" as it's slogan for years, and here's a great example why.
The sky dwarfs this vast landscape.